The Orhei Fortress
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The Orhei Fortress

The Fortress of Orhei is one of the most important fortifications in Moldova's eastern border. It dates back to the 60’s of the fifteenth century, becoming then the residence of the chief magistrate of Orhei. The architecture of the building is similar to the typical Moldovan houses of that time. Currently, only the foundation of the building was preserved - as a symbol of Old Orhei. 

ORDER

DESCRIPTION

Distance from Chișinău: 52 km Estimated time: 1 hour On a headland of a surreal beauty, on a relatively small space, tourists find traces of human life from the ancient times. Archaeological investigations have concluded that the Fortress of Orhei was one of the most important fortifications in Moldova's eastern border. Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldova, aimed to close an open gate to the Tartar regions in the White Fortress -Tighina-Soroca direction, by erecting this Fortress in Orhei. The fortification got destroyed repeatedly - In 1499 the city was sacked by the Crimean Tatars. The invasions were following one after another, until the city got burned to the ground. Its importance gradually decreased. From the 80’s of the XVIth century, Orhei is not being recorded in documents as a town. In a document from 1603, the city of Orhei was stated in terms of “the place where the Old Orhei was situated”. Soon the residents left the old walls of the fortress, building a new town, 18 km above the Raut river - place where today is the city of Orhei. The walls of the fortress were built of stone blocks, reinforced with lime mortar. In the corners, the citadel was surrounded by cylindrical towers. Semi-cylindrical towers were built beside the walls from the west, south and east sides. High above a mosque that was built during the reign of the Golden Horde, on one of the stone slabs of the basin, an Arabic inscription was preserved: "This mosque was ordered to be built on the name of the pious benefactor Alih…san". The investigations have indicated that the palace where the chief magistrate was living had 10 rooms and three pools. Demolished to the ground level and having an only visible perimeter that is shaped in a trapezoidal quadrilateral, the current estate of the fortress has kept just the foundation- as a symbol of the tumultuous history of the Old Orhei.

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